Salesforce Commerce Cloud is powerful for ecommerce purposes, as we often document in this series here on United Virtualities’ blog. But SFCC doesn’t cover all possible ecommerce use cases — not even close. This isn’t a fault of Salesforce Commerce Cloud but more because, well, it is impossible to conquer Rome in a day. Plus, due to the never-ending power of the Mythical Man Month, the more people that work at Salesforce building it, the slower it will likely go, due to the exponential nature of communication.
That’s why modern platforms have extensions or plugins — or, as Salesforce Commerce Cloud calls them, “cartridges”. They let other companies build the missing functionality.
And there is one piece of very powerful, and important, functionality that no modern ecommerce platform has built-in, but is of increasing importance for all online retailers: subscriptions.
Indeed, Gartner recently wrote, “By 2023, 75% of organizations selling direct to consumers (“DTC”) will offer subscription services.” Yes, you read that correctly: 3 out of every 4 companies that sell DTC will be selling subscriptions within 3 years. That’s why right now is the time to be thinking about subscriptions.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud, to be very direct, doesn’t offer any subscriptions. Its core focus is one-off purchases, although, of course, it allows customers to create users so they can return and their information is all stored on the platform, Amazon-style. But Amazon took a decade before they added subscription products as well, remember that?
There are various cartridges for Salesforce Commerce Cloud that are solving this problem. And our favorite, overwhelmingly, is Ordergroove.
Ordergroove: you always want to work with a product that gets into the groove of what you’re doing, and their name implies that’s precisely what they will do, in a cool way. And there’s one thing is does a level above the others, subscriptions.
Of course, trying to sound broad, powerful, and high quality, they don’t call it “subscriptions” but “relationship management” — which makes me think they might offer couples therapy services, although perhaps that is off-brand — but at its heart, it’s just a very sophisticated and well done subscription cartridge for Salesforce Commerce Cloud.
There are lots of cases in which subscriptions are useful in the context of Salesforce Commerce Cloud customers. Let’s take a few:
- You sell umbrellas, but on the low-end: those fun $10 umbrellas that corner stores often have. (Did you ever notice that corner stores are called “Bodegas” in New York but there isn’t really a name for them anywhere else?) Those break all the time, so won’t you want to offer a subscription service to get a new one every 2 months? Or perhaps every 2 weeks if your customer is in Florida and it’s rainy season? Note that, of course, as we’ve documented in this series of posts, that you can use Salesforce Commerce Cloud to personalize offers at different levels, like where they are located — this is a great example!
- There is a canonical business observation that’s almost cliche now: you don’t want to sell razors, but razor blades; or better yet: you give away razors for near-free just to get people hooked on buying your razor blades. (Actually, Dollar Shave Club implemented this! And judging from their humorous style, it feels to me like they did begin as a joke. I wish one of my jokes got bought by Unilever for $1 billion!)
Ordergroove, of course, does more than mere subscriptions. Their functionality includes memberships, automatic re-ordering, and a bunch of other features.
There is a downside, since no one has yet to invent the “free lunch”: it will cost you a pretty penny. For tiny Salesforce Commerce Cloud clients, who stretched their budget just to get SFCC and were considering Shopify’s $99/month plan instead, this may be out of budget for them.
But after testing various platforms, our conclusion is, at least in regards to this one particular use case: you get what you pay for. It’s a feature-full, best-in-class subscription experience for your Salesforce Commerce Cloud store–and it comes at a highest-in-class cost to the company as well.